"...'I am with you' declares the LORD." Haggai 1:13
Why is it so easy to neglect God? In the daily day to day He so often is the first to be set aside. I am so guilty of this. There is rarely a day when I don't check the internet or watch at least a little t.v. But there are too many days when I don't read my Bible, and my prayers are just short petitions thrown in here and there. I think it is a bit of a paradox for me. It becomes easy to put God last because he loves me and will forgive me. In Haggai as soon as the Jews, who had neglected God for 16 years, turned to Him He said, "I am with you."
But that is also the reason to put Him first. He is so deserving of our attention. He is our purpose for existence. The message in church yesterday spoke to me about this. Our youth pastor was preaching. He talked about the sacred and the selfish. It is selfishness that makes me put all the busyness of the day before God, who is sacred. And according to Haggai it is self destructive selfishness at that. God's blessings are limited when we neglect Him. I want Him with me!
I guess one of the reasons I find so much in Haggai is because I relate to the Jews in this story so well. You see these weren't the bad guys. They weren't Jews in name only. They left lives of relative ease in Babylon to come to a destroyed city and rebuild to honor God. They didn't stop building the temple because the rocks got too heavy and the work was uninspiring. They had real persecution and threats from the people around them. They wanted to put God first. But they lost sight of that in the discouragement. Then they got into the habit of neglecting Him. I can fall into this. I don't "completely" neglect God. I am at church everyweek, I listen to Christian radio, I think about God everyday. But that is not what He wants. He wants me to spend time directly with Him in His temple, my life. He wanted the Jews to spend time directly with Him in the Temple, that was still in ruins.
What encouragement that God is there waiting for them. And this time the same discouragement comes. But in chapter 2 they hear these words from God, "...take courage and work for I am with you," "My Spirit is abiding in your midst; do not fear." Instead of succumbing to the discouragement, they take action. Then they begin to see the blessings of the Lord.
So through my day, as I clean my house and care for babygirl, I must remember I have God's Spirit with me. And I can't be discouraged or distracted by the busyness of life. Because if I get focused on the busyness I will miss the blessing. And the greatest blessing comes from spending time with Him.